A totally serious herpetological podcast

This is a very jargon-heavy podcast. To help you manage with the jargon, we have compiled this glossary, which should allow you to get some idea about what we are talking about. If you think anything should be added, contact us. This page was compiled with the assistance of @llewelly — give them a follow on twitter to show your appreciation!


albedo — the ability of surfaces to reflect sunlight. Cities have lower albedo than forests.

Ambystoma — Axolotls, the adorable neotenic salamanders


cavernicolous — living in caverns

characters (morphological) — features of organisms, sometimes presence/absence, sometimes degree. Example: leaf-shaped tails are characters of UroplatusSaltuarius, and Phyllurus geckos.

chromosomes — strands of DNA that compose the genome, arranged at a specific point in the process of mitosis and meiosis

Chron’s Disease — an irritable bowel disease

clade — a monophyletic group of organisms


derived — differing from the ancestral state


ecomorph — a particular suite of characters that are generally present in animals of specific ecologies. Example: twig ecomorph anoles have short limbs and slender bodies


fossorial — living in the soil


gametes — egg and sperm cells


IBS — irritable bowel syndrome


karyotype — the arrangement of chromosomes


meiosis — the dividing of cells to form gametes

menagerie — a collection of animals

microbiome — the biome composed of microorganisms (mostly bacteria) living in or on an organism

mitosis — the normal dividing of one cell into two cells

monophyly — the sharing of a common ancestor by a group of organisms

morphology — the shape of an organism, and the study thereof


neoteny — retaining juvenile characters into adulthood


osteology — the shape of an animal’s bones, and the study thereof


paraphyly — the presence of a group within another group. Example: reptiles are paraphyletic with respect to birds, because birds fall within reptiles, but the term reptile was historically used to refer to only the non-bird part of the group.

polyphyly — the distribution of a group of organisms across multiple branches of the tree, with other groups interdigitating them

probiotic — promoting the natural biome, often boosting bacterial populations


radiation — a diversification of species within or between environments


stygiobiotic/stygian — living in the underworld


taxonomy — the study of the naming of organisms

T+ albino — a form of albinism where tyrosinase is still produced resulting in darker colour than normal albinism

trogloditic — living in caves